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Asia, Crime

Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Asia, Crime

Koh Tao murder suspects meet their families

The Nation/ANN | Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Handcuffed suspects Win, centre left, and Saw, centre right, are accompanied by police to the beach on Koh Tao where two British tourists were killed, for re-enactment of the crime. More than 200 policemen were on hand to provide security.

The parents reportedly insisted that their sons were not killers, saying they had been forced to confess after being beaten by police. The parents also quoted their sons as saying police had threatened to intimidate or assault Rakhine people on the island unless they confessed.

This assertion appears to contradict the suspects' earlier claims made to a lawyer from the Lawyers' Council of Thailand, in which they said they had been beaten by an interpreter while being interrogated by police.

The parents were reported to have said they would take their sons home, if they are acquitted. They were also quoted as telling the suspects that "they had been made scapegoats, sacrificed to cover the mistakes of Thai police".

After the visit, the parents said they would lodge a petition with the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), but they did not specify the issues.

Senior public prosecutor Theerawut Phrammanan said the petition would be forwarded to the OAG at the soonest.

The relatives were accompanied to the prison by officials from the Myanmar Embassy, the Justice Ministry, the suspects' lawyers and officials from National Human Rights Commission. Their arrival in Thailand has been widely covered by foreign and local media.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said he "did not know what to do" with the speculation and scepticism on social media, saying he would leave the sceptics to believe in what they please.

He said it was common for suspects in criminal cases to retract their confessions, adding that the process would continue regardless of their confession or denial.

Prawit said that as he has been put in charge of internal security, he would be fair with all parties involved, namely Thai police, Britain and Myanmar.

Thai police and British detectives have set up a meeting to discuss the latter's role as "observers", Royal Thai Police spokesman Pol Lt-General Prawut Thavornsiri said yesterday, but refused to elaborate.

"Thai police are not aware of what their British counterparts still have doubts over," he said, adding that time would be needed to work out all the issues.

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